If you are building or remodeling a house, condo, office, restaurant, retail space or any other interior, and you don’t think you need an interior designer, you might want to read this first.
Interior designers offer so much more than just color selection and window treatments. You probably already knew that, but did you know that a professional interior designer can actually save you money? Think of an interior designer as an investment. Consider how much money you are spending on the entire project. Can you afford any mistakes? Can you afford any delays? Can you afford NOT to hire a designer?
The Scope of a Professional Interior Designer
- Research and analysis of the client’s goals and requirements; and development of documents, drawings and diagrams that outline those needs;
- Formulation of preliminary space plans and two and three dimensional design concept studies and sketches that integrate the client’s program needs and are based on knowledge of the principles of interior design and theories of human behavior;
- Confirmation that preliminary space plans and design concepts are safe, functional, aesthetically appropriate, and meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements, including code, accessibility, environmental, and sustainability guidelines;
- Selection of colors, materials and finishes to appropriately convey the design concept, and to meet sociopsychological, functional, maintenance, life-cycle performance, environmental, and safety requirements;
- Selection and specification of furniture, fixtures, equipment and millwork, including layout drawings and detailed product description; and provision of contract documentation to facilitate pricing, procurement and installation of
- Provision of project management services, including preparation of project budgets and schedules;
- Preparation of construction documents, consisting of plans, elevations, details and specifications, to illustrate non-structural and/or non-seismic partition layouts; power and communications locations; reflected ceiling plans and lighting designs; materials and finishes; and furniture layouts;
- Preparation of construction documents to adhere to regional building and fire codes, municipal codes, and any other jurisdictional statutes, regulations and guidelines applicable to the interior space;
- Coordination and collaboration with other allied design professionals who may be retained to provide consulting services, including but not limited to architects; structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and various specialty consultants;
- Confirmation that construction documents for non-structural and/or non-seismic construction are signed and sealed by the responsible interior designer, as applicable to jurisdictional requirements for filing with code enforcement officials;
- Administration of contract documents, bids and negotiations as the client’s agent;
- Observation and reporting on the implementation of projects while in progress and upon completion, as a representative of and on behalf of the client; and conducting post-occupancy evaluation reports.
How to Hire an Interior Designer
So you know you need a designer, but where do you start? How do you find the right designer for you?
You are going to be spending A LOT of time with your designer. Sharing intimate secrets and desires. Trusting them to help shape your dream space. So you really should like them!
I always insist that I meet with every potential client in person before I offer a quote for my services. I need to make sure that we are a good fit for each other. There needs to be mutual trust and respect. But you also need to do your research on them and make sure they are capable of tackling your project.
Here are 7 tips on hiring an interior designer courtesy of Canadian Living
1. Word of mouth is an excellent way to start your search for an interior designer. Consult friends, family or co-workers for referrals to designers they’ve used or would recommend.
2. Check with your favourite home decor store to find out which designers shop there. The staff should be able to provide names and business numbers.
3. Locally produced decorating TV shows and magazines can also serve as excellent sources of information. The added bonus is that they showcase the work of a variety of experts in your area.
4. Your provincial interior designer association can make locating an expert in your region a snap. They offer a complimentary referral service that can provide contact information for designers in your area who specialize in the kind of work you require. Go to Interior Designers of Canada Interior Designers of Canada and click on IDC Member Associations for links by province. (Or the American Society of Interior Designers in the USA)
5. Interview several designers before you make your decision. You’ll need to know exactly how each expert will approach your particular project as well as his or her work schedule and fee breakdown. Ask to see samples of their work and for client references.
6. There is no set fee structure for the industry. Rates depend, of course, on the designer’s experience, field of expertise and location. Arrangements vary from hourly or daily billing to fixed fees to a percentage of goods purchased on your behalf. An hourly fee can range between $90 to $200, and a one-time consultation can cost anywhere from $300 to $600. (The most cost-effective approach – if you’re making substantial furniture purchases – is to use a designer who works at a retail establishment that offers designer services. In those cases, the service is often discounted or free with the sale of the furniture.)
7. Once you’ve selected your designer and you’ve both agreed on the services to be provided, be sure to nail down a clear and detailed contract that outlines the payment agreement and that also spells out both parties’ expectations as well as the work to be done.